Heritage Jam entry: PARKER

I’m sure it isn’t quite what they were expecting, but I submitted something to HeritageJam.

View it here.

PARKER is an interactive experience in procedurally extracting, uncovering, and reversing, the burial of latent semantic core archaeological knowledge. In this era of neoliberal corporatization of cultural heritage knowledge, PARKER represents the way forward for its creation and appreciation. When we must balance funding for healthcare versus that for archaeologists, in this time of reduced availability of funds, how can we not turn to data mining and revisualization of knowledge? After all, what is the insight of the individual when millions of minutes of youtube videos are being created every minute? Further, PARKER extracts the core insights of archaeology and formats them automatically for patenting, so that DRM can be affixed and rightsholder value be fully realized.

PARKER:  for the archaeology we always dreamed of.

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This visualization is an interactive story that frames the automatic search of youtube, natural-language parsing, and automatic super cut & re-formatting of those search results to highlight the ways code can frame archaeological knowledge. It applies Sam Lavigne’s ‘videogrep’ and ‘automatic patent generator’ to results from a search for ‘archaeological burials’ retrieved from Youtube, selecting the first few results that included closed-captioning. Videogrep uses natural-language pattern matching on those captioning files to select clips from a variety of pieces, restitching them at random. The result is similar to an I-Ching or other ways of divination of meaning. Similarly, the patent generator grabs the transcription so that elements that fit the language of patent applications. As I have argued elsewhere, digital archaeology is not about justification of results, but rather, the deformation of the familiar.

The result is a making-strange, an uncovering, of deeper truths. Code is not neutral, and we would be wise to recognize, to engage with, the theoretical perspectives encoded in our use of digital tools – especially when dealing with the human past.

 

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